FAQs About Oral Health

What guidelines will help children remain cavity-free?

Our Doctors and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend the following guidelines to help your child grow up cavity free.

  • Brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day.
  • Floss your child’s teeth once a day to remove plaque and food in-between teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach.
  • Get enough fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products and when recommended by your dentist, through fluoride supplements.
  • Have sealants applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent molars soon after they come in.
  • Snack moderately – No more than twice a day.
  • Visit our dental center regularly for check-ups, cleanings and x-rays.

What does it mean if my child’s teeth are sensitive to hot or cold?

Sensitive teeth are not uncommon and can be symptomatic of anything from a harmless sinus headache to more serious problems, such as bruxism (teeth grinding), cavities, loose fillings, or receding gums. Sensitivity can also be magnified by tiny cracks beneath the outer enamel created by chewing on hard objects. If you experience momentary pains caused by hot or cold elements, consider all possible causes and advise us during your office visit. Fleeting sensations are rarely grounds for concern. If these pains tend to linger, see us for an examination.

At what age should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?

The American Board of Pediatric Dentists and Dr. Parker recommend that your child have their first dental exam before the age of two.  Though this may seem early, 40 percent of all toddlers between one and three years old have some form of inflammation of the gums and/or cavities.

How Does Your Mouth Affect your Overall Health?

Often taken for granted, the repetitious task of brushing and flossing our teeth daily has never been more important in order to avoid gum disease and the risks gum disease place on our overall health. It has been estimated that 75% of Americans have some form of gum disease, which has been linked to serious health complications and causes various dental problems that are often avoidable.


What is Periodontitis?

Periodontitis is the serious and advanced stage of gum disease which includes bone loss. Periodontitis is irreversible. The gum tissue and bone that surround and support your teeth could become seriously damaged and the teeth affected could become loose and fall out. Periodontitis occurs when the early stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, is left untreated.

Periodontitis has also been linked to serious health problems such as an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks. Periodontitis could also cause higher blood sugar levels.

Some researchers have even suggested that gum disease can cause premature birth and low birth weight.

Poor oral hygiene is the most common cause of periodontitis. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily and regular check ups with your dentist are the best ways to prevent periodontitis.


What Causes Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the foods that we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day and flossing daily. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.


What is fluoride and is it safe?

Fluoride, a naturally occurring mineral, is often added to drinking water and is commonly found in toothpaste. Research has shown that the rate of cavities decreases in areas where fluoride is added to the water supply. Health authorities, such as The American Dental Association and The World Health Organization, both advocate the addition of fluoride to drinking water, and recommend you use toothpaste that contains fluoride, if age appropriate.


What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a reversible form of gum disease. Affecting only the attached and free gingival tissue that surrounds your teeth, bacteria that invades the area below your gumline, known as the sulcus or periodontal pocket, causes gingivitis to develop and eventually manifest into periodontitis, if left untreated.

The early warning signs of gingivitis are often mistaken as normal occurrences one should expect when it comes to the mouth. Symptoms of gingivitis include:

  • Bad breath
  • Red, puffy, and inflamed gums
  • Bleeding after brushing and flossing


How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

Adults and children should change their toothbrush every 3 months because they become worn out and are not as effective as they once were. Exceptions to this would be if you were using an electric toothbrush, and the manufacturer states otherwise. Some electric rechargable toothbrushes have very good brush heads that only need to be changed every 6 months. If you have gum disease, you should change your toothbrush every 4 – 6 weeks because bacteria can harbor in the bristles. You should always rinse your toothbrush out with hot water after every use and change it after you have been sick.


Do Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Really Work?

Teeth whitening toothpastes seem to be popping up everywhere and you’ve got to wonder if they really work.

Whitening toothpastes, like all other toothpastes, contain mild abrasives to remove surface stains. Teeth whitening toothpastes may have additional polishing agents and special chemicals that are more effective against stains than regular toothpastes. While whitening toothpastes can make your teeth appear a little lighter, by getting rid of stains, they do not actually bleach your teeth.

Teeth whitening toothpastes are ideal for people who smoke, drink coffee and tea and eat certain foods that can stain your teeth. Teeth whitening toothpastes are also good to use after you have undergone a teeth whitening procedure to keep surface stains from building up on your teeth.

If you decide to use a teeth whitening toothpaste, be sure that it contains fluoride for extra protection against tooth decay.